Friday, September 30, 2011

The beauty and the beast!

Let me start by warning you that this is an image-heavy post! When I started spinning, my aim was to spin fine yarns as I like working with them. Thick and chunky yarns give my wrists and fingers aches! And, as with any other craft, spinning too has a learning curve and the first 2 skeins of yarn I made were on the bulkier side. You can see them here and here. But, constant practice and patience really perked up my spinning skills and I've made my first lace-weight skein. happy dance!!

I got about 90 yards of lace-weight yarn from a half ounce batt of fiber. Not bad,eh?! The fiber came as a sample along with my spindle purchase and this is only my third skein of yarn. So, understandably..I am thrilled with it. So, let me share the process with you with a few pictures.. First, I halved the batt into two as I was going to make a 2-ply lace weight yarn. I spun the fiber on my spindle into cob-web weight singles...

I made 2 batches of the singles and wound them into a ball separately.

From these balls, I made a 2-strand plying ball. This needed some serious yarn wrangling from my side. I had these soup bowls that I was given as gifts from a close friend of ours. They've been unused as we rarely have soup at home. But, the bowls came in handy when I had to make the plying ball. I strung the ends of the two balls through the handles of these soup bowls and wound the two strands into a single plying ball. The bowls saved my sanity big time.

and, the two balls became a single 2-stranded plying ball. Here is the plying ball.

Then I plied the strand from the plying ball onto the same spindle I spun the singles with. Spinners usually use a heavier spindle than the one used for spinning the fiber for plying. But, I didn't have spindles free. :D Here is the spindle with the plied yarn.

Then the yarn was wound onto my 1-yard niddy-noddy for skeining. I was thrilled with the outcome. I counted about 90 yards of lace weight yarn.

I tied the skein in 4 places to keep the strands from tangling..I had to set the twist in the, I soaked the yarn in hot water for about an hour and hung it up for drying. Here is the yarn after the twist was set.

Lovely isn't it?! Now, if you are wondering why I titled this post as 'Beauty and the beast!', this is why.. Remember my first ever skein of hand-spun?! I had to compare this skein of lace weight(my third ever skein) with my first skein, I had a pleasant shock..and the shot reminded me of  'The beauty and the beast' , the beauty being my lace weight skein and the beast being the rustic and fugly first hand-spun skein.. See for yourself.. ;-)

That is some difference,huh?! I am very glad that I am able to make yarns that I like to knit with.. considering that I am only a month old into the world of spinning. I haven't decided what I want to make with this yarn.. maybe lacy bookmarks.. what can you make with 90 yards of lace weight yarn?! Do you have any ideas or pattern suggestions? Leave a comment and let me know.. I'll be glad to hear from you.


This post is linked to FO Friday by Tami's Amis and Creative Friday by Natural Suburbia.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Riot of colors!

Here is a sneak-peak at my WIPs  this week.. of course, all of them are spinning WIPs. I've been procrastinating on a test-knit scarf. Its a lace scarf that needs more concentration than I can muster after a tiring day at work, with a pre-schooler interrupting me every 5 mins. I hope to get cracking on it soon.. Meanwhile, I am finding how easy and stress-free spinning is.. now, look at the pretties on my spindles..

The green and gray ones are my BFL from woolgatherings. The white fiber is a merino sample and the pink one is again BFL, both came with my spindles from Babknits @ Etsy. I am going to learn how to navajo-ply with the pink singles. I am done with spinning the pink BFL and will attempt navajo-plying tonight. Can't wait to get off work today.

What are you working on these days? I have 2 more spindles coming my way. This is becoming a serious addiction, but who is complaining?!  So, tell me what are you obsessed with these days? I promise I'll keep it a secret! :P


This post is linked to WIP Wednesdays by Tami's Amis.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I haz a sad! :-(

Remember I told you about a few light weight spindles that I ordered a while back.. They still haven't arrived here. I am starting to panic.. I've had my share of lost packages..but, of late, I've had better luck with the postal department. Maybe I've jinxed my luck by mentioning to others that I've had a good run with India Post. The spindles were posted to me on Aug 22nd and its been a month now. They are coming all the way from the US to Bangalore, India and I have no way to track the package. I am so sad that I can cry!  Please send some good thoughts for the spindles.. it needs all the good luck in the world!

A happy update:
I got the package delivered. All I needed to do was to consider it lost and I got it! Phew! All is well in Josie's world. Here are the beauties that came in mail today..

I can't wait to get off work today to take these out for a spin. The spindles came along with some fiber.. here is the entire bunch.. I am one happy lady today!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Mug rug mania!

I just realized that I totally forgot to share with you guys about a quilted mug rug swap that I took part in Ravelry recently. Quilted mug rugs are an easy way to try various quilting techniques on a small scale.. The swap came with a challenge where your swap partner has to make a mug rug by interpreting the challenge you have thrown and its a secret swap. so, till you receive your swap package.. you won't know who has made the mug rug for you.. I rarely sign up for swaps but, this one was tempting, I jumped in. The swap came to an end in packages were lost and everything went well. Now that the swap is over, I can show you what I sent and what I received. First let me show you what I received from Ann all the way from Ontario,Canada. The challenge/theme I gave was Ocean and here is her interpretation..

The blue fabric has sea weeds in it and the green fabric had sea turtles in printed on it,.. the white lace trimmings stand for the waves and foam..and, the yellow fabric stands for sandy beaches.. I got my own piece of the beach side in my mug rug. The best part is, I have matching china to go with the mug rug and it was put to use right away. :-)

hmm.. I love me some choco-chip cookies! Who doesn't?!  Thank you so much, Ann for this gorgeous mug rug. I'll treasure it and use it for my coffee-and-cookie breaks. :-) My swap partner in the other half of the transaction was Alexis from Materials and Method. She is an experienced quilter and I was a bit stumped by what to make for her. My challenge was 'rule-breaking' piecing. After a lot of head-scratching.. I settled on a mug rug that involves curved piecing. I've never attempted curved piecing and decided to challenge myself to try this technique.. here is the mug rug I sent her..

The pattern is called playful pinwheels and is available here. And, I tried my hand at free-motion quilting with my newly acquired darning/quilting foot. I must say that between the curved piecing and free-motion quilting, my seam ripper and I became BFFs. ;-) I added some Chumbak goodies to go with the package and here is what I sent to Alexis. Thank you Alexis for sharing this pic with me. (The doofus that I am, I forgot to click a pic of the package before mailing it)

                                                                  © Alexis

I am glad that all the packages were received safely and on time. All in all, it was a fun swap to participate in. Have you participated in swaps? if so, what was your memorable swap and why? Share with me as I would love to hear from you.

This post is linked to FO Friday hosted by Tami's Amis, Creative Friday hosted by Natural Suburbia.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shrek in the swamp!

Wondering what the title of the post means?? That's the name I've named the colorway of the fiber I'm spinning currently. After finishing up with the fiber in the spindle kit, I had to buy some more to feed my fiber addiction. I turn to Etsy for all my online craft shopping. So, naturally I browsed ogled at all the lovely fiber available for sale there and ended up buying some from Woolgatherings. Its 100% BFL fiber which was suggested as a good fiber for a beginner to work with. BFL stands for Blue Faced Leicester, a kind of sheep. Here is the fiber I bought..

It has various shades of  green with bits of gray interspersed. So, the name "Shrek in the swamp!" I have ordered some light weight spindles for spinning finer yarns. I couldn't wait for the spindles to arrive. So, I started spinning this fiber on my beginner spindle that came in the kit.. Patience is not my best trait ;-) Here is the fiber on the spindle..

Doesn't it look 'Oh so purrty' sitting there in the bowl?? These days, I am spinning in every possible moment I get.. Its so easy to stop and much better than knitting/crochet.. no need to scratch your head to find your place in the pattern and I can walk around while I spin. Alvin loves to give the spindle a spin while I'm drafting and is always saying "" while I am spinning.

I have spun about 2 ounces of this yarn and I have about 6 more to go. Did I tell you that I bought 8 ounces of this fiber? I wanted to have enough yarn for a BIG project out of it.. And, I have started plain finger-less mitts out of my first skein of yarn..but, I do not have any pics of the progress yet. I am working on a lace scarf that I am test knitting for Uma from Ravelry. Its a lovely pattern but, needs some serious concentration from my side. Its been so long since I made knitted a lace project.. I hope to made some good progress on this scarf this week.

This post has been linked to WIP Wednesday hosted by Tami's Amis.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Dizzy from spinning!

I've taken a sudden and fierce obsession with spinning.. No! not the kind that has you pedaling a stationary cycle so that you lose the inches you've been fighting forever! The kind where you spin animal fiber on a spindle to make yarn.. I had posted about my progress on the the dyed fiber that came in the beginner spinning kit here. I finally finished spinning and plying the fiber and this is the yarn I made out of it.. My first official skein of yarn!

I got approx 150 yards out of 4 ounces of fiber. The yarn is very inconsistent and the thickness of the yarn varies from lace-weight to bulky-weight. :D it has a rustic feel to it and its far from what I aimed to spin.. Ah well! Its my first attempt and I have to begin somewhere,right?! 

I am planning on making finger-less mitts out of this yarn.. plain stockinette show off the yarn.. because, this yarn really can't show off any pattern! ;-) My spinning skills improved considerably as I came to the end of the 4 ounce fiber supply.  The difference is clearly seen in the pic below..

The strand in the left look so much even and consistent that the strands in the right.. and, I ran out of fiber right when I was getting the hang of the techniques. sigh But, the mailman came with a package from Woolgatherings with the fiber I had ordered.. so, it was all good in the end.. I had ordered 100% BFL fiber to move on from the beginner fiber I got with the beginner spindle kit.. I've started spinning it too. More on that in another post.. :-)

This post is linked to FO Fridays hosted my Tami's Amis and Natural Suburbia and Fiber arts Friday.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A few quilled cards!

First of all, a warm welcome to all my new followers. Thank you so much for following me and for the encouraging comments you leave on my work. I've been on a quilling spree lately. Quilled cards are pretty easy to make and a fun way to personalize your gifts.. A friendly couple had their house-warming ceremony last week and I made this card for them at the last minute. I had gotten them a store-bought gift and I felt something was missing.. so, I made this card for them.

I designed it on the go.. I knew I wanted to make a quilled house and ended up with the scene.. I had to move the house a bit far from the coconut trees as otherwise, the house looked so tiny against the gigantic coconut trees.. ;-)

I made a few more simple cards to go with a few packages.. I hope the recipients like them.. The packages for the 100th post giveaway winners have been mailed.. I hope it reaches the winners safe and soon.. :-)

I'll talk more about my spinning adventures in the next post. I've made my first official skein of yarn and I am on the hunt for patterns. More on that in my next post.. Till then, take care!

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